~ Always remember ~
NOVEMBER 11TH IS REMEMBRANCE DAY IN CANADA.
In 2010, my husband and I went on a journey to locate the grave of my Uncle Harry whose Lancaster bomber had been shot down on June 13, 1944, near Cambrai, France. All six crew members perished.
They are buried in a small Allied cemetery in the middle of farmland rather than one of the major cemeteries in France. It was quite an experience just finding it, but that’s a story for another day. When I enquired as to why the graves were in that location, the Office of Military Affairs explained that they had been buried there by the nearby villagers at the time and so would remain close to where they had died. It was immaculately tended … and watched over by curious cows.
As a child, I had always been intrigued by stories about my Uncle Harry, the youngest of 5 boys, and only 20 years old when he died. There were framed photos of him in his uniform with a dazzling smile in my parents’ and grandparents’ homes. You could feel his pride … and their pride …
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In Canada, our Remembrance Day tradition is to wear a poppy like this one. Most Canadians begin wearing them many days before. This year, two members of our Armed Forces were senselessly killed in Canada in one week in October. Poppies appeared immediately as everyone sought to honour their memory. Their loss has brought a renewed commitment to respect and pay homage to men and women who serve their countries and put their lives at risk every day.
The recent tributes have been unique, and often personal, and this morning I was touched to read about this one.
On the day Corporal Nathan Cirillo was shot at our National War Memorial, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ NHL team was in a hotel directly across the street. They were to play a game with the Ottawa Senators that night. Since there was no way of knowing what sort of attack was taking place on our Parliament, everything in the area went into lockdown. The game was cancelled and the players watched out the windows of the hotel as the situation unfolded.
Yesterday evening the game was rescheduled in Ottawa. Instead of their standard morning skate, both teams went to lay wreaths at the Memorial. There was no publicity. They took along one photographer and a videographer. No fans. They were able to honour our fallen soldiers in their own private way. Well done.
Tomorrow at the 11th hour of the 11th day in this the 11th month, our country will pause for two minutes’ silence to remember those heroes who have given their lives and in respect of all who offer their service … in every country.